Food Safety Top Tips - How to store food safely
Correct storage of food will reduces the risk of food poisoning bacteria. Follow our tips to ensure the food you store is always safe to eat.
Most foods need to be kept in the fridge to help stop bacteria growing. These include foods with a "use-by" date, cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods such as desserts and cooked meats. Here are some tips to help stop the growth of bacteria:
- Make sure your fridge temperature below 5°C
- When preparing food, make sure it is kept out of the fridge for the shortest time possible.
- cool down leftovers as quickly as possible, store them in the fridge and eat them within two days
- Do not open cans in the fridge. The metal may transfer to the contents – always place the contents into a storage container or covered bowl instead
'Best before' and 'use-by'
- Food with a "use-by" date goes off quite quickly and it can be dangerous to eat after this date.
- Food with a "best before" date is longer-lasting. It should be safe to eat but may not be at its best quality after this date.
- It is very important to store meat safely in the fridge to stop bacteria from spreading and avoid food poisoning.
- Raw meat and poultry should be stored in clean sealable containers at the bottom of the fridge. This prevents them from dripping onto other food.
- Follow storage instructions if labelled and do not eat meat after its use-by date
- keep cooked meat separate from raw meat
Freezing and defrosting
- Only freeze meat/fish before their use-by date
- When defrost, make sure the meat/fish thoroughly thawed before cooking. BE AWARE; alot of liquid will come out as meats thawing. Make sure it is placed in a bowl to stop bacteria in the water infecting other things
- Only defrost meat and fish in a microwave if you intend to cook with them straightaway. Otherwise put the ingredients into the fridge to thaw so it doesn't get too warm
- cook food until it's piping hot all the way through
- Do not re-freeze raw meats that have been defrosted.
- You can re-freeze cooked meat once, as long as it has been cooled before going into the freezer.
- Frozen raw foods can be defrosted once and stored in the fridge for two days.
- Cooked food that has been frozen and removed from the freezer must be reheated and eaten immediately once fully defrosted.
- When defrosted, food should be reheated only once, because the more times you cool and reheat food, the higher the risk of food poisoning. Bacteria can grow and multiply when food is cooled too slowly, and might survive if food isn't reheated properly.
- When reheating food, make sure it is heated until it reaches a temperature of 70°C for two minutes, so that it is steaming hot throughout.